Father's Day is not celebrated in South Korea

Father's Day is not celebrated in South Korea

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

South Koreans do not celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Instead, each year on May 8 they recognize Parent’s Day.

The origins of Parents' Day date back to the 1930s. Starting in 1930, some Christian communities in Korea began to celebrate Mother's Day and it was combined with filial piety, one of the major elements of Korea's traditional Confucianism culture. The South Korean government designated May 8 Mother's Day in 1956, eventually changing it to Parents' Day in 1973 to convey thanks to both parents at the same time.

On Parents’ Day, children give their parents and grandparents carnations, gifts of gratitude and spend time together. When I was young, I wrote thank you letters at school. I don't remember everything I wrote, but I’m sure it always focused on me promising to be a good kid and not acting up. What I do remember is not always keeping those promises. But I’m sure I meant it when I wrote it.

But, I did more than write a letter, although I really didn’t have much of a choice. This is because many flower sellers were lined up in a row near my elementary school, offering carnations. Every year after school, I spent my entire fortune on the freshest one and gave it to my parents along with my well-intended letter. And it was also up to me to wash the dishes that day.

Usually, adult children prefer giving their parents cash or healthy food instead of carnations. Now that I live apart from my parents, I can't do the dishes like I did when I was young. But I call them and thank them for another great year. And I always try to live a full and happy life because I believe it's the best gift I can give to my parents.

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